Stephen A. Smith on Colin Kaepernick: ‘He Personified What a Protest is Supposed to Be’


Stephen A. Smith offered a nuanced opinion on Colin Kaepernick‘s National Anthem protest Monday on First Take, though he made it clear he applauded the San Francisco 49ers quarterback for making a stand even though it may not be in his personal best interest.

“Colin Kaepernick may suffer because of this,” Smith said. He added, “There’s a difference between bringing attention to something, and sacrificing. And I’m telling you right now, when you look at what Colin Kaepernick did, this was a sacrifice.”

Smith added, “He personified what a protest is supposed to be.”

Smith’s objection to the protest was largely based on the fact that Kaepernick’s on-the-field stature does not compare to others who’ve spoken out regarding social justice issues recently, including LeBron James. And Smith wonders if Kaepernick’s protest will have less of an impact as a result.

The reason I don’t love it is because he’s opened the floodgates of being scrutinized for his intent…Let’s say for example, hypothetically, if this were LeBron. It would be 10 times more profound. You know why? Because it’s clear that that’s the only reason why. And LeBron’s a champion. Lebron is an iconic figure…For him to take a position like this would be entirely different.

With Colin Kaepernick, even though I don’t question it, there are those cynics out there who will bring into question the motivation behind all of this. Because he’s coming off a subpar year. They’re talking about how his skills have dissipated…So now because of those cynics who may not like what he did, they’ll use those other things on the field as an excuse. That’s why I didn’t love it so much. Because he’s in a vulnerable position.

For a nine minute excerpt of the 17 minute discussion, watch above, via ESPN2.

[image via screengrab]

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo